After receiving the news of my cousins passing, I sat firmly in my high-backed chair in a state of shock. Randy was not only a cousin but a close friend and confidant. When we were children he was the first to engage us in alternate, imaginary worlds of play. Mud became not only a gooey mess but a living slim made so by Randy’s wild imagination. I was always game for Randy’s experiments and it was always very easy to believe what his creative mind could think up. Tears began to well in my eyes and stream down my cheeks as the reality of the loss of him overcame me.
A few days later the family came together at Nichols funeral home for Randy’s service. A celebration of life for a man who many labeled as insane, off his rocker, totally nuts. Most arrived and passed by the casket without so much as a glance. I observed the entire proceedings from the chair set next to a large portrait of Randy, the one of him in his crimson colored smoking jacket, I did always love this display of him. Looking on as supposed friends and family gathered and talked about Randy and his sudden demise. Most were there only to make their presence known, in part trying to nudge information out about Randy’s will. I could care less where Randy bequeathed his precious estate, except that no one in this room was deserving enough to inherit his things.
Standing, I straightened my dress and walked over to where my loathing cousins, Randy’s brother and sister, were standing what came next were the comforting hugs and well wishes that are expected at these times. Having decided that I was going to leave and return home I walked up to the casket to say my last farewell to my dearest friend and cousin.
I would have thought that Randy was still alive, he looked as if he was sleeping, all except the horribly stiff pose they always place the deceased in. His hair was still black as pitch, one small streak of silver ran down the left side of his face. He never could cut his hair, no bother to me he looked handsome in his double-breasted navy blue suit. Placing my hand on his I whispered to him how much I would miss him.
Upon turning around and walking towards the exit, my left arm was gently touched by a black gloved hand. Turning my head towards I staggered for breath as I was looking into the darkest brown eyes I have ever laid my eyes upon. A gentle whisper from his lips revealed that I was to meet him and Randall’s attorneys in their office downtown the day after tomorrow. He slipped a manilla envelope in my hand and as quickly as he came he was gone in the crowd of gathering people. I must have stood there for a few minutes as Rachel, my cousin and Randy’s older sister strolled by and asked if I was alright. Nodding I gestured to the door and headed straight out into the darkened parking lot.
Once at home and in the house I sat at the dining room table twirling the envelope in my hands. The entire ride home had my mind in a dither, wondering what was in the envelope and why my presence was needed at the reading of Randy’s will. After setting the envelope down for the third time I decided to tear the end open. The sound of the ripping paper seemed to echo through out the entire house. Moments passed by, finally reaching two fingers in, I retrieved a letter and began to read.
“My Dearest Jenna,
If you are reading this then I am no longer of this earth and I wanted you to have this before the reading of the will. You have always been there for me, as children, in those awkward teenage years and even in my utter most times of despair. Given that you are the only one who ever came to see me, talked with me, listened to my ramblings, it is you that I most truly adore and feel closest too.
Those sniveling little shits of a brother and a sister will be so angry when they find out that they will get nothing of my fortune or my belongings, including my notebooks. You see they never thought that I heard what they used to say about me. Little did they know that I had video cameras running endlessly, I also have the audio recordings. After the reading dear you will be the sole heir to my estate, finances are already being transferred into your name and everything is yours to do with as you please. I was never insane, consumed by my passion possibly, but never out of my mind.
I do have a few requests of you dear. After all you are the one that knows me the best and understands that I have done much research and have intimate knowledge of many, let us say “covert” operations within the scientific arena. I do hope that you still enjoy a good game of hide and seek. You will be informed very soon of my requests.
Dear Jenna, I will miss you so. Please keep your mind centered as I will indeed see you again. You were always the one who believed in me, yes those things we discussed, they are so very concrete. Keep your resilience and wits about you dear
Unable to move I sat at the table staring at the letter with my mouth wide open and my mind blank. This is going to cause an enormous feud in the family. His entire estate, his work, his money. What on earth was I going to do with his billions and the house, the cars and yes his notebooks. Those notebooks intrigued me more than the prospect of being wealthy. Randy was very much into debunking conspiracies, myths and legends. He traveled to the ends of the earth researching everything from weather anomalies to UFO’s to who done it’s. Randy who lived alone plus his personal staff at his mansion in the hills. Although on many occasions we discussed his work, he never told any details and he would never let an eye spy one of his notebooks. Not ever.
Laying down for the night with so many thoughts running through my head. Tossing and turning I must have finally drifted off as I was awakened by what I thought was Randall’s voice. I lay perfectly still listening. There was no sound except that of the train off in the distance. I woke with a start, the sky had lightened so it must have been near dawn.
Shivering I noticed that the window was open. My heart began to race as the curtains rustled in the cool breeze. The window was closed when I went to bed.
Stay tuned for part II